The idealistic son of a wealthy businessman seeks to expose his father's duplicity and to free his childhood friend from the lies on which his happy home life is based. When skeletons are brought out of the closet, the foundations of the Ekdal family are torn apart - with drastic consequences.
©2010 Stephen Mulrine (P)2010 Fantom Films
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
"The Wild Duck" centers on the Ekdahl and Werle families.
The patriarch of the former, called "Old Ekdahl," has fallen from grace due to his previous imprisonment for a crime he may not have committed. He does copying for Håkon Werle, but isn't quite all there: at home he wears his uniform and shoots rabbits he keeps in the attic.
Hjalmar Ekdahl, his son, is a photographer. He is married to Gina, a former servant in the household of Håkon Werle. They have a teenage daughter, Hedwig, who is going blind.
Håkon Werle's son Gregers has just returned from exile, and is enraged to find Gina married to Hjalmar. Gregers' mother died believing her husband had an affair with Gina, and he suspects Hjalmar doesn't know. Gregers rents a room from the Ekdahls with a single purpose: "I intend to open his eyes."
Hjalmar Ekdahl is a dreamer who does not allow anyone to discuss "unpleasant matters" (like reality) with him. He tells everyone he's working on a magnificent invention; this apparently requires hours of solitude, quiet, and lying on sofas. Sadly for his wife and daughter, "within his own little circle he's always been mistaken for a shining light."
The tangled interactions between these characters (and a few more) culminate in the heart-breaking events of the last scene.
Overall, "The Wild Duck" is a well-acted and produced masterwork of psychological realism.
There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin
The Wild Duck is a tragicomedy that abounds in imagery. For instance, the title and the idea behind it - shooting the duck and only wounding it. There are lots of wounded ducks in the play: characters who are ruined by the circumstances,and who let themselves go.
Some of the characters (Gina and Hakon) are down-to-earth and practical, others (Gregers and Hjalmar) are so melodramatic and pathetic, wallowing in self-delusion, lacking the gumption to change things.
That's not a kind of play that overwhelms you from the start. It's truly realistic. And to really appreciate it you have to analyze a lot. If you're fond of drama, then that's for you.
But frankly, I did not enjoy the performance at all. Especially, that of Jane Lerwill's, in the role of Hedvig. She sounded fake, and her lisp really got on my nerves. This is why, that's only three stars.
"Excellent play, Very disappointing production."
Another Ibsen definitely, but not performed by this company/director
Over earnest delivery, most of the players straining to demonstrate their emotions in their lines. Very disappointing that the actors weren't empowered to speak naturally. Sounded as though they were performing to a class of 10-year olds in a patronising fashion. Were they trying to play it in a style they thought appropriate to the 1880s? If so, I think they guessed incorrectly. I've seen and heard Ibsen productions that flow properly and sound like real people are speaking.
Use of plot and imagery demonstrates Ibsen's perceptions of the human condition and of power inequalities in family/society. Is the main psychological theme (the life-lie) overly emphasised? It might not have seemed so if played in a more nuanced way.
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